NHTV Breda University Pilot
Online preparatory courses at NHTV, Breda University of Applied Sciences
Date: September 23, 2009: NHTV certificates
Target group: Incoming students who want to brush up their knowledge of Financial Management or Mathematics, and/or foreign students who want to prepare themselves for their stay in the Netherlands and their studies at NHTV.
NHTV developed brush up courses Financial Management and Mathematics for incoming students.
During summer- and autumn holiday, students follow an online course in these subjects. The courses are constructed in an online learning environment. Students are coached via chat, forum and e-mail. If they finish the course succesfully, they receive a certificate.
In addition to these courses, students could prepare themselves for their stay in the Netherlands and their studies at NHTV by visiting wiki pages with information about NHTV and the Netherlands. These wiki pages focus specifically on incoming foreign students. The pages consist of information about NHTV and the educational system, information about the Dutch and Western culture and information of Breda as a student city. Besides that, it is possible to follow a short Dutch course, to communicate with fellow students via forum and, in the end, to do an are-you-ready-test. Our wiki pages can be visited at the NHTV Breda University website.
The courses and the wiki pages
To be able to start the courses and to develop the wiki pages, there needed to be commitment and input from the board of governors, teachers of the subjects economics and mathematics, head of the the international office, ICT and other involved colleagues and departments in our organization. This commitment really is essential. Only think about the troubles you can bump into because the preparatory courses start before the official start of the year… (f.e. or the students registered in the right way so that they do have access to the online university environment).
In order to create a successful project, much attention was paid to the question if students would enrol for an acculturation course pur sang. Our underlying assumption was that they wouldn´t. As we already had the experience with the online summer courses we knew that students are only eager to learn when they feel the necessity for it. Therefore we connected the acculturation pages to the English courses Financial Management and Mathematics.
We choose for a wiki page because of the interactivity and the possibilities to exchange information between (international) students.
Results project and future plans
During Summer 2009, 173 students enrolled for one of the courses Financial Management or Mathematics. An increase of almost 20% compared to last year. As much as 15% of them were international students. When we leave out the enrolled students who did pay but not started the course, the figures are the following: 82% passed the Dutch course Financial Management and 65% passed the English course Financial Management. 76% Of the students passed the Mathematics course.
Also, we looked at the results of last year participants on the subject Financial Management or Mathematics in the first year programme and at their overall study success in the first year. The first results are promising.